Are you a change person? Are you someone who gets excited about new changes and even tries to make them to keep life more interesting? Or are you someone who loathes change and tries to avoid it at all costs? Perhaps you are somewhere in the middle. As you well know, like it or not, change is inevitable. I would encourage you that it doesn’t have to be painful (at least not all of the time) and have a few ideas on managing the change that you may or may not want to happen.
Personally, I just experienced a big change last week. Our daughter’s caregiver, who has been her caregiver since I started back to work after maternity leave, started nursing school full time on January 2nd. This meant that we started with someone new this week caring for our precious little girl who is just a little over one-year old. I primarily work from home so the transition had a big impact on my work – and ability to work. Honestly, I had been dreading last week for months now. Alternatively, my husband has been excited about the new opportunity and growth for the whole family. Can you tell who is the “change” person in our household?! 🙂 Well, we finished the week and everyone is surviving – and amazingly even thriving. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned that can (and will be) applied to my next change adventure.
- Face the change. This took me quite a while – and that is ok! I didn’t want to face the reality that things would be changing the first week in January. I liked the way things were. We had a good rhythm and connection. However, in order for me to be able to really handle the change, I had to admit change was coming. From a work perspective, you may have a new manager, a new staff person joining your team, a key person retiring or choosing to leave, a much lower budget than anticipated, a new funding opportunity, change in job description and many more.
- Garner support. In most situations, you don’t have to manage the change alone. In my childcare story, my husband was a tremendous help in the change situation. He was willing to take the leadership on researching new options, setting up appointments and helping me think through our negotiables/non-negotiables. Recognize where you need support and where you need to change what you are doing (or not doing) in order to manage the new change. Perhaps you need to ask for different kinds of support from your existing team members so that you can be freed up to train the new staff members. Maybe you need to ask your colleagues to be part of a conference call or meeting with your new manager so that you can explain how you have worked together well in the past and to provide context for your current goals and plans. Whatever the situation, find the support that you need which may look very different in different situations. Depending upon your personality, you may need more or less time to process some of the change by yourself and with others. Although you may be inclined to try to do it all on your own, I encourage you to ask for support from those who are trusted colleagues and companions.
See what you can apply this week in facing new changes and garnering support. Next week, we will explore three additional ways to manage change well.
When have you found that facing the change or garnering support has particularly helped you during changes?
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